Thursday, September 30, 2004

Saudi Imam Financed 3/11 Plotter

Spanish newspaper El Mundo (link in Spanish) writes on new details filtering out of phone conversations by Rabei Osman, aka 'The Egyptian', which were tapped by Italian police in Milan on 26 May, two weeks before his arrest. Osman is seen as one of the main plotters of the March 11 Madrid bomb attacks.

It turns out Osman was financed by a radical Saudi Wahhabi (or more correctly, Salafist) imam called Salman Al Aouda. Al Aouda was arrested by the Saudis in 1994 for his activities against the House Al Saud, as head of the 'Batallion of Faith'. Very little information is publicly available about this guy, although the article does describe him as being a high ranking Al Qaeda member and a 'precursor' to Al Qaeda, as a historical opponent of the House Al Saud.

The report also mentions that Osman talked of a friend in Germany, who needed money for a 'project' there named 'Nour' (a common Arab name), which entailed the construction of islamic schools.

Personally, I don't believe Al Aouda would be an operational Al Qaeda member, an inspirational figure, yes.